Earlier this month, Orlando’s Local 6 Sports Director David “Ping” Pingalore reported that Dwight Howard told Orlando Magic management that he wanted coach Stan Van Gundy fired. This story “broke” on April 4, and it led to one of the most amazingly awkward interviews in NBA history, when Van Gundy told reporters point blank that he knew Howard tried to have him fired, and then Howard interrupted the interview and put his arm around Van Gundy, completely oblivious to what just happened. Howard’s reaction when the reporters filled him looked a little like this:
The problem with Ping’s report was that it wasn’t anything new. Magic writers like Jarrod Rudolph had reported months ago that Howard wanted Van Gundy out, but it went unnoticed because it hadn’t been preceded by two months of trade deadline drama. Ping’s “sources” – which we’ll discuss in a moment – and their #HOTTGOSS were more timely and convenient for the NBA media that needed something to fill the downtime between the trade deadline and the playoffs. So Ping was heralded for this so-called scoop, and he was given a free pass for his next aimless, unsubstantiated breaking story.
That story, of course, was this week’s report that Howard refused to play for Van Gundy and was faking his herniated disc injury as a protest. Well if that’s true, Howard is the most committed liar since George Costanza, because he is having season-ending surgery that will require four months of recovery.